Skip to main content


Europe’s anti-Semitism problem

Defaced posters of abducted Israelis in central Paris. Stefano Rellandini/AFP/Getty

Anti-Semitism has exploded in France since the 7 October atrocity in Israel, says Le Monde. Police have recorded over a thousand attacks against French Jews. Teenagers have been filmed singing “we’re Nazis and proud of it” on the Paris metro. A former Middle East adviser to the government was spotted ripping down posters of abducted Israeli children, screaming “Israeli murderers”. Tempting as it is to write this off as an “episodic eruption”, the reality is that anti-Semitism has “taken root in our society”. France has the third-largest Jewish community in the world, after Israel and the US. And in recent years the rest of the French public has grown increasingly indifferent to their fears and anxieties. Where once protests against anti-Semitic crimes attracted widespread support, Jews at these gatherings now increasingly “find themselves alone”.

It’s a similar story in Germany, says Özlem Topçu in Der Spiegel. At pro-Palestinian protests, demonstrators celebrate the crimes of Hamas and claim Israel is a “white, colonial project”. Some have tried to blame this “repulsive” behaviour on immigrants, but that’s nonsense. Anti-Semitism “can be found everywhere” in Germany. Polls suggest that one in five people hold anti-Semitic views, and that significantly more are xenophobic. The far-right AfD party, known for its “widespread” anti-Semitism, has approval ratings of around 21%, up from 14% in 2018. This is not to trivialise hate speech by Muslims. But racial hatred isn’t “more acceptable” when it’s coming from someone in a tweed jacket rather than a Palestinian scarf. Like it or not, “the greatest danger to Jews in Germany still comes from German neo-Nazis”.